What’s the biggest advance that SAGE has seen in the last decade?

The Scholarly Kitchen recently had a great post that asked their “chefs”: What’s the most important advance in publishing in the last decade? We thought it was a great question and wondered at SAGE how our colleagues would respond. So we posed the question to them:What’s the biggest advance that SAGE has seen in the last decade?

Here are some of their answers:

Jim Gilden – Editor, SAGE Open Sales:  The biggest advance at SAGE in the last decade is unquestionably the move to digital publishing and the broad access it opens to our journal content. This digitization of scholarly communication opened the door for a new form of social science journal that few people would have thought viable ten years ago: Gold Open Access publishing. With the January 2011 launch of SAGE Open, a multi-disciplinary, peer-reviewed journal for the social and behavioral sciences and humanities, SAGE is at the forefront of this important new publishing paradigm. The response from the academic community has been overwhelming – some 1,100 manuscripts have been submitted in just 18 months. Whatever the journals publishing landscape looks like in the next decade, Open Access will surely be a part of it and SAGE’s investment now in OA positions us to continue to be an important partner in the scholarly communication process.

Huw Alexander – Rights & Digital Sales Manager: The growth and diversification of our journals programme, the shift in our book publishing towards a more textbook oriented approach and the implementation of a robust and far-flung sales force have enabled significant growth for SAGE. This has been underpinned by the opportunities afforded by the digital age for reaching new markets and developing new products to meet customer demand. This sales growth has subsequently allowed for reinvestment within the company and the recruitment of new staff to further drive innovation, revenue and the sourcing of the best content possible.

Boiling it down, I’d say that our structural response to the advent of the digital age has been the key to our success in disseminating our content more broadly and successfully.

Patrick Brindle – Online Publisher: There have been lots of advances that SAGE has made in the last 10 years, on so many fronts. Our e-journals platform continues to offer innovation and our textbooks are ever better developed and supported by e-resources. But for me these have been in tandem with developments at other publishers. Our social networks, developed for our researcher communities, Methodspace, Crimspace, Commspace and Socialsciencespace offer genuine market-leading innovation outside of our publishing. Perhaps the most significant for me is SAGE Research Methods, the new research tool launched in 2011. It combines a genuinely new type of product, with new features and functions that benefit the research, teaching and student community – the reviews and awards already received show how much investments in services like this are valued.

Martha Sedgwick – Senior Manager, Online Products: For me, the biggest advances for SAGE in the last decade have been in the area of the delivery of our book product, specifically the electronic delivery of our books. As the world for electronic journals has matured, it has been a decade of experimentation and innovation, both in the form and format of our book material and in the models through which we are selling our book titles. In the past 10 years we have shifted from a print book only business, to a publisher who delivers print alongside PDF, XML and interactive online books.  Our titles can be read on laptops, on eReaders, on smart phone and tablet devices. They are available for purchase in chapter-level chunks, as individual titles and as bundled collections.  We sell our ebooks in perpetuity, as a subscription license, for time-limited access or using patron-driven access models.   The sheer range of models and modes of consuming academic texts has shifted dramatically in the past decade driving SAGE to deliver what our academic researchers, students and librarians need from our content.

Lettie Conrad – Manager, Online Product Management: SAGE has continued to evolve in the past decade. Some of our biggest advances include the support of infrastructure for online product innovations, the acquisition of CQ Press, and the use of XML – first for journals with books to come soon. We’ve worked to advance our products like providing mobile-optimized SAGE Journals,  and launching SAGE Open and SAGE Research Methods. And lastly our success lies with our key partnerships – with societies we publish on behalf of, Highwire and many more.

Bernie Folan – Head of Library Marketing (UK): I think the biggest advance in the last 10 years has to be the launch of SAGE Journals via HighWire, our first SAGE online journals platform. We had journals content online previously via Ingenta but launching our own platform with the control, functionality, linking options, discoverability reach and metrics enabled, has been transformational.

It’s opened many doors but from a sales and marketing perspective a few breakthroughs are being able to measure usage and cost per download and so help libraries purchasing decisions. No more “finger through the jacket dust” test to guess at institutional need for a  journal. More recently, evidence-based marketing in the form of sharing “turnaway” data, derived from platform logs,  has proved extremely beneficial in helping libraries see what their users are looking for. E-Journals enablement of concurrent article use and its impact on reach, use and reading list design is a world away from the “one journal on the library shelf world” of the nineties.

To pick just one more advance, having our content available on SJ has enabled us to chunk it in different ways and sell packages much more easily. Journals online have truly paved the way for the digitisation of our other printed content and the difficult choices those processes demand we make. We constantly aim to raise the bar on SJ in terms of a rich experience for users and what we can learn as a business from the interactions that happen there and this sets an incredibly high standard for the many and varied online products we are and will be launching.

It’s not all good: moving from a browse to search culture has killed much of the serendipity inherent in content discovery of old – when laser-sharp search was impossible. However, working out how to add some of this useful serendipity back in to the world of online search is just another exciting challenge worth us tackling.

Karen Phillips- Editorial Director (UK): SAGE has had several big advances in the last decade. Our STM publishing programme must have doubled in size in the last 10 years. Additionally, the growth of digital products – SAGE Reference Online, SAGE Research Methods, and now SAGE Knowledge. Lastly, we have developed a much stronger textbook programme, with much more focus on the development process and with strong online ancillaries.

Rolf Janke- Vice President and Publisher, SAGE Reference: One of the biggest advances for SAGE was to think and execute beyond just e-books and e-journals.  Creating unique and relevant research tools add tremendous value to our already thriving e strategy.  Products like SAGE Reference Online, SAGE Open, State Stats for libraries and building interactive textbooks for students are just the beginning of how we are approaching the digital relevancy of our social science content.

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